Magu Gate: Will PMB take actions on Daura, closest aides?, by Kallamu Tata (PhD)

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Ibrahim Magu.
Ibrahim Magu.

​Since after the corruption allegations that led to the suspension of the former acting Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, many close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari have been accused of one or more allegations of corrupt practices.

Nigerians and people around the world that follow events are exhausted with corrupt allegations storming the closest aides of President Buhari.

The new allegations which caught the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in a whirlwind of corruption, that is threatening to dismantle the administration is the N​100 million barrels of crude oil allegedly illegally shipped from Nigeria in 2015, kept in tank farms in Qingdao, China’s eastern Shandong Province, secretly sold for $800 million, and the money shared by ranking members of the President Mohammadu Buhari’s cabal, investigations have revealed.

Buhari’s late Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari; late Group General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, as well as the current GMD, NNPC, Mele Kayi were reported to have shared of the $800 million.

Also reported to have participated in the sharing was the now suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu; Air Commodore Mohammed Umar Rtd; former Director-General, State Security Services, Malam Lawal Daura.

Seeing the name of former DG, Lawal Daura,​ a Buhari”s kinsman is still confusing, disgraceful and worrisome.

Daura who was a member of Buhari’s Campaign Security Team in 2015, ​was sacked by the administration of Buhari as the DG SS, though he always claimed that he served nobody but President Muhammadu Buhari.

Daura came from the Buhari’s home town, he was the closest and seen as a family member of PMB, and even after he was sacked he claimed to still have access to PMB.

During his tenure, Daura wrote a report which Bukola Saraki used as a tool not to confirm the appointment of Magu as EFCC Chairman.

This was not the first time Daura was accused of corrupt practices, there are feud and conflicts of interest between Daura and the suspended EFCC Chairman.

​When he was a DG, there was this allegation and ​Magu investigated the alleged corrupt practices conducted by Daura as reported by Tell Magazine in December 2017.

It was reported by Premium Times that a former assistant to the former Director-General of State Security Service, Lawal Daura,​ accused his former principal of extensive corruption, and portrayed him as a man who serially betrayed his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, for money.

A Special Assistant, Abdulwahab Abdulrahman, a retired senior SSS official, said he left the Agency under aura because of the scale of corruption and abuse there.

“I didn’t want my children to see news of my eventual arrest on TV,” Abdulwahab said.

When Daura’s name was mentioned on this recent allegation of sharing $800 million, Nigerians and Analysts asked several questions – What really does Daura have on the President that has made him do as he wishes? Can the president afford to look the other way as Daura is accused again?

Or is Daura Mr Untouchable despite his corrupt allegations? Or is it that his actions have the approval of the President? That is why he is still close to him?

​Those who know Daura well say he carries himself with an aura of invincibility. According to a source, he believes that nothing can happen to him.

In 2017, Tell Magazine reported that DSS under Daura was accused of multi-billion naira fraud and shielded of corrupt elements, the allegations that put Magu to probe alleged corrupt practices under Daura.

Investigation shows that EFCC is probing into alleged corrupt practices of the Director-General of the Department of State Security, Lawal Musa Daura.

Since riding into power on the mantra of ​and anti-corruption posturing, Nigeria, under the ruling, All Progressives Congress (APC), has become a theatre of the absurd. The actions and inactions of the government in power, as well as the brazen impunity emblematic of the operations of the security agencies, have made it a laughing stock in the global arena.

While many instances abound of the evident lack of synergy, unhealthy rivalry, and bitter feud amongst the different security apparatuses, what appeared to be the most dramatic and unsettling was a clash between the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

On November 21, 2017, the EFCC officials, armed with both search and arrest warrants, had made a failed attempt to arrest Ita Ekpeyong, a one-time Director-General of the DSS, and his National Intelligence Agency (NIA) counterpart, the embattled Ayodele Oke who was sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari along with the former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal.

The operatives who had laid siege to the residences of the duo for about 48 hours, had moved into the Number 46, Mamman Nasir, Asokoro, Abuja residence of Ekpeyong at about 6 a.m to effect his arrest, but faced stiff resistance from the DSS officials guarding him. The same ugly scenario played out at Oke’s residence.

Curiously, according to informed sources, the number of DSS officials on ground ordinarily was no match for the more overwhelming number of the EFCC operatives that came. They were however said to have called for reinforcement from the headquarters of the organization headed by Lawal Musa Daura, a kinsman of the President from Daura in Katsina State who from all indication, was all out to thwart the arrest.

An unimpeachable source hinted the Tell Magazine that in Daura’s desperation to foil Ekpeyong’s arrest, he had given his men a strict instruction to shoot to kill anyone who dared them.

The source said but for the maturity displayed by Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC, with the tactical withdrawal of his men, there would have been a blood-bath.

As the macabre drama unfolded, not a few people wondered why Daura, a man who had gained notoriety for brazen impunity and gangsterism especially in the manner he had handled similar allegations of suspected corruption, would be so desperate to prevent Ekpeyong and Oke’s arrest.​

So why did Daura, who has collaborated with the Ministry of Justice to arrest alleged corrupt officials, suddenly decide to shield people who are being sought for alleged corrupt deals?

From the findings of the magazine, the whole macabre drama even goes beyond covering up sheer lawlessness, as described by Itse Sagay, Professor of Law and chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), by the DSS and the NIA under the former security chiefs.

Investigations by the Tell Magazine revealed that it was indeed a grand design and desperate move to cover up the alleged cesspool of corruption going on in the DSS under Daura.

The magazine learnt that several petitions to the Presidency on the rot in the DSS under him had been successfully blocked. The magazine can authoritatively serve you the inside story of what could have provoked a bloody confrontation between the DSS and the EFCC, two sister agencies whose leaderships don’t see eye-ball to eye-ball.

The magazine gathered that a petition was written to the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo by a high-ranking official of the DSS, Adebayo Babalola, a lawyer against Daura was the trigger of the present face-off between the EFCC and the DSS.

It was learnt that Babalola, frustrated by the non-delivery of his petition to Osinbajo after two attempts, decided to send copies to the EFCC and the ICPC.

It was gathered that Daura had used his formidable influence at the presidency and intelligence network to intercept the petitions, thereby preventing them from getting to the Vice President. But as soon as Magu received the petition, believed to have indicted Daura for corruption, he swung into action by arranging the arrest of Ekpeyong and Oke. But unknown to many, there was more to the entire arrest saga than meets the eye.

Daura saw through Magus sly moves that he, rather than Ekpeyong, was the actual target of the EFCC investigation. Though Ekpeyong too had issues to resolve with the EFCC over his stewardship as DG, SSS, it was a case of using one stone to kill two birds.

Seeing that there is a case against Daura, the chairman of the anti-graft agency merely wanted to use Ekpeyong as bait to get at his traducer. Now, it may not be out of place for some people to read vengeance to EFCC action.

In which case for Magu, revenge would be seen to be best when served cold. Recall that it was on account of the unfavourable reports on Magu, by the DSS that, twice, his confirmation as EFCC chairman was rejected by the Senate.

But a source insists that the major interest of the EFCC team is that the EFCC action is a furtherance of the trail of the $2.1 billion arms procurement fund allegedly disbursed for the 2015 elections by Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser.

Sources say that part of the fund had also allegedly been traced to the DSS and NIA. It was learnt that the $43 million and naira components found in the Ikoyi apartment was the share of the NIA from the fund.

The Tell Magazines’ investigation revealed sundry allegations of corruption, mismanagement of funds, and vindictiveness against Daura.

The DSS, it was gathered, also got $30 million from the fund for its operations, out of which Ekpeyong had expended nine million dollars. The former DSS boss is said to have handed over the balance of $21,237,435.72 to Daura in cash.

So why was it difficult for the current DSS boss to tell the authorities that the part of the arms deal funds that came to his service was for security operation? That is the reason for the conflict with EFCC, as sources say that there are suspicions that Daura had converted the money for his personal use.

Also allegedly mismanaged was the sum of $12,960,480,740.38 being the balance in the pension fund account.

Ekpeyong, on his part, is required to explain to the EFCC what happened to an N250 million property he reportedly acquired with public funds to accommodate some intelligence officers from the United States of America who had come to train some DSS operatives.

It was gathered that there had been no trace of the documents in respect of the said property.

To further prove that Daura, a 64-year-old man with over 64 children, had the penchant for dipping his hands in a public vault to take care of his family, he had allegedly in April 2017, withdrawn the sum of one billion, six hundred million naira (N1,600,000,000) out of the two billion, four hundred million naira (N2,400,000,000) budgeted for the life insurance policy of DSS staff members. That is not the only thing the petitioners believe he had done wrong.

​He is also believed to have allegedly used non-service personnel, one Ambassador Adamu Saidu Daura, to collect the money, an act which is against service rules and governments financial regulations.

If the allegations are proved, Daura may also be required to respond to the allegation that he claimed that the money so diverted was to prosecute Buhari’s presidential campaigns in 2019.

Aside from the alleged diversion, there is yet another allegation that the former DG SSS, Daura,​ renovated a service guest house in Maitama, Abuja, for a whopping sum of one billion naira. The value of the property in question is said to be between N250 million and N500 million as at the time it was reportedly acquired by its Ekpeyong or  Afakriya Gadzama.

Very unpopular with staff members due to his alleged insensitivity to their welfare, Daura was said to have stopped payment of duty tour allowance and other allowances to staff members on the ground that he needed to amass sufficient funds for Buhari’s presidential campaign thereby demoralizing them and undermining the security of the nation.

He similarly allegedly denied directors at the national headquarters of the organization accommodation by converting their official houses to personal use. For example, after he evicted Kayode Are, his predecessor, from his Number 50, Alexander Street, Ikoyi residence, he allegedly allocated the same property to a woman believed to be his mistress.

This was in spite of a restraining court order and the fact the substantive suit was still in court. Another case in point was the alleged hand-over of a prime property located at Glover Road, Ikoyi to another woman, to manage.

Sources at the DSS view this as most embarrassing given the fact that the property which is a MESS, is strategic to the intelligence community and the purpose is to aid inter-agency intelligence cooperation given its joint ownership by such organizations like the NIA, DIA and DSS.​

It was argued that by handing it over to his friend, the impression was that the MESS is personal property, more so when the cost of items is far beyond the reach of the average officer who is compelled to patronize the facility.

For example, a bottle of beer in the MESS is sold for three thousand naira. Many wonder how junior officers would be able to afford such an exorbitant price.

With a tainted record of service, which should have ordinarily disqualified him from the very sensitive job, many people believed that the only credential that earned him the job was being the President’s kinsman.

Nigerians and people around the world are now waiting for positive action from PMB against Daura and other prominent people.

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